A NEW service to help employers recruit the next generation of hi-tech talent is being piloted in Oxford.

The Apprentice Agency is teaming up with Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (OCVC) to help small businesses by offering them apprentices who are “work-ready”.

The first recruits will be specialists in computing.

Bosses interested in taking on young talent are being urged to get in touch to help the scheme develop further.

OCVC principal Sally Dicketts said: “Apprenticeships raise students’ learning and future job prospects to a higher level, and many businesses report back on a whole range of benefits that apprentices bring.

“We encourage businesses in the Oxford area to get in touch with the Apprentice Agency, to discuss the benefits, particularly in terms of time and cost, that it can offer them.”

Typical of the candidates being sourced by the agency is Jamie Chandler.

The 17-year-old took an apprenticeship with Thame-based website development firm Solve the Web (STW) in September after leaving school.

He said: “I looked at colleges but didn’t know what subjects to choose and I thought there was no point in wasting another two years, so I looked into apprenticeships.”

Jamie now has a range of duties at STW supporting staff, while also studying for a National Vocational Qualification in Business Administration at OCVC’s main Oxpens campus.

At the end of a year he will be offered a job at STW, which he says he will definitely accept.

He added: “I have already been given a lot of responsibility and have learned a lot about information technology.

“Now I want to develop my career around that.”

His employer, Cat Young, said: “We are very keen on training up young talent.”

The agency will offer businesses a choice of apprentices that meet their needs, and employ them directly on the business’s behalf, cutting down on paperwork.

Apprenticeships initially on offer are IT technician, Business administrator and IT user.

  • Businesses interested in learning about the Apprentice Agency should visit theapprenticeagency.co.uk or call 0845 680 8254